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27 October 2022

Your wins: Flights refunded after eight-month battle

A month after we contacted Qatar Airways, Kerry finally received the money she was owed – more than nine months after her initial request.

Consumer NZ member Kerry*, from Auckland, came to us after she’d spent eight months trying to get Qatar Airways to refund her for cancelled flights to the UK.

Kerry and her family had bought tickets to the UK in November last year through Qatar Airways. The ticket conditions allowed for a cancellation with a full refund or travel voucher.

The family was due to fly on 20 January but the Omicron outbreak stymied their plans. So Kerry cancelled the flights and requested her refund.

Unfortunately that was the beginning of a saga that lasted eight months and involved multiple calls and emails to Qatar Airways, to no avail. It was only when Consumer NZ stepped in that Kerry finally got her money back.

When Kerry initially requested a refund in early January, she was told it would take 22 days. In February she received an emailed form asking for her bank details for the refund, but the amount was only half of what was owed.

So she called the airline, which apologised and said it would fix this, and also said it would refund her sister-in-law directly for her cancelled flights. However, this didn’t happen and when Kerry called again in March, Qatar insisted it had paid her sister-in-law.

Things started to get messy. She kept calling the airline to say she hadn’t received her full refund – then the airline insisted she’d actually been overpaid and demanded she repay it $1900. She had to get a signed statement from her bank to prove she hadn’t received the amount Qatar insisted it had paid her.

Kerry’s call logs show she spent more than 552 minutes on the phone to the airline over eight months. She said that on two occasions, she was called a liar.

“The whole process was frustrating and affecting my health.”

She contacted Consumer in August and one of our advisers contacted Qatar Airways.

"I am writing on behalf of one of our members who is also a Qatar Airways customer. She is [name redacted]. I would appreciate your assistance to resolve an issue that has caused [name] considerable stress.

[Name] has spent the better part of eight months trying to get a refund of just over $4000 for flights initially booked for travel in January this year but not used.

She has received a partial refund and has at various times been promised that the balance will be paid or has been paid. It has not.

The booking details and a record of [name’s] attempts to resolve the issue are in the attached documents.

Thank you for any assistance you can give to resolve this matter."

Just over a month after we contacted Qatar Airways, Kerry finally received the money she was owed – more than nine months after her initial request.

“Without Consumer NZ’s help, I don’t think I would have ever received my money back. So thank you all very much for the work you all do.”

*Pseudonym used at member’s request

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